* Stay calm. Remember that disagreement and conflict are normal, not inherently wrong.
* Avoid win-lose approaches; "my way or no way" stances.
* Look for common ground.
* Listen carefully to others' viewpoints before speaking.
* Search for underlying causes. Don't just respond to the surface level.
* Be patient. Don't rush to judgment, trying to quickly eliminate tension and anxiety.
* Develop and maintain a clear, broadly shared understanding of your congregation's mission and goals.
* Seek clear, commonly held expectations of the pastor and the pastor's authority.
* Remember conflict is an opportunity for congregations to grow stronger.
As Christians we share a common faith. But polarization in society has shown us how much we disagree about burning social issues—abortion, the death penalty, homosexuality, immigration policy, war and peace. Culture wars often become church wars dividing the body of Christ.
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